A New Government Study Says Driving Stoned Isn’t Nearly As Bad As Driving Drunk

Before I say anything else, I should clarify that getting behind the wheel in any state other than sober and alert is incredibly dumb and you really shouldn’t do it. If you feel sleepy, take a nap first. If you’re chemically impaired, call a cab. That said, the government just studied driving while stoned and found it’s not nearly as bad as driving drunk.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just issued a study on driving stoned, and the results may surprise a few people. According to the data, they found that — once you adjust for age, race, gender, and alcohol use — there was no more risk driving stoned than there was driving sober.

There are a few notes of caution: The NHTSA notes that this is largely based on a survey of other studies, and that some of those studies use self-reported data. But it makes sense, when you think about dosage. Most people, when they decide to get utterly ripped, do it at home, not a location away from their house, and if you’re not getting ripped, you’re probably consuming more or less the same amount of intoxicants as somebody who has one drink and waits a few minutes before getting behind the wheel. Really, what this study is saying is that stoners use marijuana more responsibly than drunks, or at least don’t drive as often.

It’s also worth noting that marijuana is poorly understood as a recreational drug. Comparatively little research has been done on day-to-day use, thanks to government mandates. There’s not really a scientific equivalent of the blood alcohol test for marijuana users, either. It seems likely that as marijuana is legalized in more states, we’ll have a better understanding of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

All that said, we’re still talking about something that impairs motor function, and you don’t want that while you’re driving. So don’t do it. Not least because you take forever at Taco Bell, and some of us just want our damn crunchwrap.